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ASUS Z97-A (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 2, 2014 6:20 am
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASUS

Close up with the ASUS Z97-A




Taking a look at the motherboard, you can see the overall design is pretty simple with not too much going on with the color scheme. It's pretty much a black on black setup with some gold highlights seen throughout the upper heat sinks. Let's move in a bit closer and see just what exactly we're dealing with here today.




Moving in closer, you can see we have quite a number of slots on offer here from the ASUS Z97-A. ASUS has chosen to include two older legacy PCI slots that go along with the two PCIe x1 slots located in the middle and at the top. You can also see we have three PCIe x16 slots that support both CrossFire and SLI. If you're running just a single card, the top slot will run at x16. If you opt to use two cards, then they will both run at x8. As for the third slot, that runs at just x2.


Also, here across the top, you can see the M.2 Socket 3 connector that we're seeing on most Z97 motherboards. While most people won't find too much use for the port at the moment, Intel is hoping the connection gains traction.




Heading to the bottom of the board, it's all a very standard affair. We have the normal line up of COM and USB headers, with a power switch also located at the bottom. On the right side, you can see our main front panel header connector, and above that, we have the TPU and EPU switch along with a couple of fan headers located around the area.




Turning the corner, you can see our storage port setup, which looks a bit different from normal. We have a total of 7 SATA III ports on offer here, all running off of the Intel Z97 chipset. Along with that, towards the middle of the bunch, you can see we have a single SATA Express port.




Moving to the north end of the board, you can see our four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3 ranging from 1333MHz DDR to 3200MHz DDR via overclocking. Below that, you can see our main 24-Pin ATX power connector, and to the left, we have a USB 3.0 header along with a fan header to the right.






Turning the corner, you can see our main 8-Pin CPU power connector, and moving back, we get a look at the socket area, which like most these days is extremely clean looking. We have a really basic heat sink setup going on, but the quality is typical ASUS and feels fantastic. Just to the south of the CPU socket, we get another look at the M.2 socket that we mentioned earlier.




Finishing up with a look at our I/O connectors, you can see we start with video out options on the left, which include HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, and DVI-D. Moving across, you can then see two USB 2.0 ports along with four USB 3.0 ports. A combo PS/2 connector sits on one, and a Gigabit network connector, running off of the Intel I218V controller, sits on the other. Finally, we finish with our audio connections, which include an optical port and six auxiliary ones all running off of the Realtek ALC892 HD Codec.

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